Hugh Redman; Hamlyn, London; 2004 edition
This book is like a trusted friend to me. I love the range of dishes it offers — from salads to rice dishes to pasta dishes, cannelloni and lasagne. The recipes are incredibly easy to follow and ingredients are simple and available easily.
The introduction is extremely useful as it offers tips on how to choose the right pasta or kind of rice for each dish, how to cook them and even how to gauge how much is needed according to the number of people at the table. It also has recipes for the basic sauces including pesto and how to make fresh pasta. This book took out all my fear of making fresh pasta and inspired me to make my own ravioli and gnocchi.
Some of my favourite recipes from this book are Coronation Prawn and Pasta Salad, the Insalata Mista made with fresh market produce and a light oil and vinegar dressing, Tomato and Mushroom Risotto, Stuffed Rice Croquettes made using leftover meat gravy, Pasta alla Marinara with Ginger with a lovely rich seafood flavour, and Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Pancakes. If you are new to gourmet Italian cooking, start with the Potato Gnocchi. It is easy but delicious.